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WordPress or Shopify: Which Content Management System is Better for Business

Are you debating between using WordPress or Shopify for your business website?

If so, you’ve narrowed down your choices to two of the best options.

Both of these content management systems are excellent choices for any business, but they are different platforms that offer different features.

This article will help you learn about the advantages and disadvantages between using WordPress and Shopify to run your business website.

Here’s what you need to know about using WordPress vs. Shopify for your business website.

Contents

Using Shopify for a business website

Shopify

After WordPress, Shopify has the next largest market share at 6.6%. That may not seem high, especially compared to WordPress at 65.1%. However, it’s higher than all other content management systems.

Should you use Shopify for your ecommerce website? Weigh the pros and cons to decide.

8 Advantages of using Shopify for your business website

1. No tedium

When you need to add products, edit content, create product descriptions, or add images, Shopify makes it easy. You don’t need to jump through tedious administrative options just to change a price or add a new color selection.

2. Fully hosted

With Shopify, you don’t need to get a separate hosting account. Your hosting is included in your monthly cost.

3. Plenty of themes

You can find plenty of themes for your store that are neatly organized and separated by category.

4. Awesome plugins

You can find more than 1,200 plugins in Shopify’s app store. These plugins will help to automate tasks so you can focus on growing your business. For instance, there are apps for accounting, inventory, shipping, reporting, and customer service.

5. 24/7 support

Support is one of Shopify’s best features. They have an amazing support team that will help you via email, live chat, or over the phone.

6. Marketing support

You can easily create discount codes, post products to social media, perform basic on-page SEO, use Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), and more.

7. Shopify has a blog

Shopify’s blog is incredibly easy to use. Having a blog is necessary to rank in the search engines.

8. Product reviews and ratings plugin

The customer reviews and ratings plugin will help you increase sales and your search engine rankings.

7 Disadvantages of using Shopify for your business website:

1. Limited functionality beyond the basics

While you can run a large ecommerce store on Shopify, there are limitations to the features.

2. Some themes aren’t free

You might need to pay for your preferred theme. However, there’s nothing unusual about that. Theme developers work hard and deserve to be paid for their creativity. You’ll just need to add it to your budget.

3. Shopify uses a proprietary code system

Unlike WordPress, which uses standard PHP, Shopify has its own template language called Liquid. To customize your site, you’ll need a developer familiar with Liquid, which is written in Ruby.

4. Shopify plugins cost money

You can expect to pay another fee for using plugins from the app store. However, using certain plugins will save you money since you’d need to hire a person to do the job anyway.

5. 24/7 support is only general

If you need a simple problem solved, Shopify’s 24/7 support is great. However, if you need technical help you’ll need to post your issue to a forum where it will be seen by a developer.

6. Exporting blog posts isn’t simple

You can’t just save a blog post easily, there’s a process you must follow.

7. Transaction fees

There are fees each time you sell a product, which is something some people dislike. However, Shopify is so easy to use it’s worth the cost. Stores in certain countries use Shopify Payments, which doesn’t charge transaction fees.

What businesses should use Shopify?

Shopify is perfect for any ecommerce store that also requires a blog. Small, medium, or large, Shopify can handle it all. However, you’ll need a significant budget for the monthly fee if you have a larger store. Plans start at $29 per month, but plans go as high as $299 per month.

If you need extensive customizations, or you already have a developer who doesn’t know Shopify’s Liquid template language, WordPress is the better option.

Shopify is an ecommerce-centered platform. If you don’t need an ecommerce store, consider using Webflow, Weebly, Wix, or WordPress.

Using WordPress for a business website

WordPress

As stated earlier, WordPress has 65.1% of the market share for content management systems online. It’s not just because it’s has been around for a long time, either. WordPress is a highly customizable, powerful CMS that has a smaller learning curve than other platforms.

Should you use WordPress for your ecommerce website? Weigh the pros and cons to decide.

8 Advantages of using WordPress for your business website:

1. An abundance of themes

There are tens of thousands of WordPress themes on the market with more being created daily. Some are standard business themes, while others come loaded with unique features and seemingly unlimited design options.

2. Extensive theme customization options

If you don’t find a theme that suits your needs out of the box, you can have one customized or hire a developer to create a custom theme.

3. Extensive core file customization options

WordPress is open source, which means anyone can make changes to the core files. WordPress is like a blank canvas, and with the right developer, you can create amazing things.

4. Straightforward admin interface

Managing a WordPress site is substantially easier than most CMSs. All of your admin options are in a vertical menu on the left side of your screen.

5. A simple plugin makes ecommerce work

You can run and design your ecommerce website on WordPress using a plugin. The most popular plugins are Shopify and Woo Commerce.

6. WordPress is free

You don’t have to pay for the WordPress software. You can download the latest version anytime.

7. Many plugins are free

Unlike other CMS platforms, many WordPress plugins are free. At least, the plugins found in the official repository are mostly free. There are, however, paid versions of free plugins and plugins you can find outside of the repository that cost money.

8. Most developers can work with WordPress

If you lose a developer, you don’t have to worry about not being able to find a replacement. WordPress has been around for so long that most PHP developers are familiar with it, so it won’t be hard to find a new developer.

5 Disadvantages of using WordPress for your business website:

1. You need a budget for big customizations

Some customizations are fast, like creating a color scheme, a typography set, and rearranging layout columns. These customizations won’t cost much and can be completed by just about any developer. However, if you want customizations that add extensive functionality, you need a budget.

2. Cybersecurity is in your hands

With a self-hosted WordPress website, you have to keep all core files and plugins updated. If you don’t log into your account often, you might miss some important updates that can leave you vulnerable to attack.

3. No live support

For self-hosted installations, WordPress doesn’t provide any live support, but there is a large community of developers and users who will answer your questions. The support forum can be useful, but you need patience to wait for a reply.

4. “That blog look.”

Your business website will look like a WordPress blog if you don’t get the right theme. If you don’t mind your website looking like a blog, then this won’t be an issue. However, if you want to have a professional presence on the internet, you need a theme that doesn’t announce to the world, “Hey! I’m using WordPress!”

5. Shortcodes are a pain to fix when you switch themes

Shortcodes make it possible to insert HTML code without touching your HTML. They’re little snippets of code that represent larger chunks of code, and they get inserted right into your visual editor. Browsers translate the shortcode into the HTML it represents and displays the full HTML to your visitors.

When you change your theme, your shortcodes will show up as the actual shortcodes. They’ll look out of place, and if you have a lot of pages, you’ll need to edit all of your pages to remove or replace the shortcode.

What businesses should use WordPress?

Businesses with access to a dedicated website developer, affiliate marketers, and businesses that use blog posts instead of ecommerce storefronts are best suited for WordPress.

WordPress is also ideal for entrepreneurs and digital marketers that sell products using sales pages rather than product pages.

When Shopify Makes a Better CMS than WordPress

When you’re running an ecommerce store, you can’t afford to use the wrong platform. If you build out your site in one place, it’s frustrating and time consuming to transfer your content somewhere else. When you have more than a handful of products, the task becomes arduous.

If you need to build an ecommerce website, Shopify is a great platform. In many ways, it’s better than WordPress for online stores.

Shopify is a great ecommerce platform if you:

  • Don’t know HTML, CSS, or have any experience using WordPress
  • Need to launch your ecommerce website fast
  • Don’t want to go through a steep learning curve just to set up your website
  • Don’t want to struggle with a separate hosting account
  • You value your time
  • You just need a simple, good-looking layout without massive customizations

The difference between Shopify and WordPress

Shopify and WordPress are more than just two different website platforms. WordPress is a blog-based website platform while Shopify is a website builder. The difference is huge.

A website platform is just software and requires technical knowledge to set up and use. A website builder is a tool that makes it easy for people to build a website with little to no technical knowledge.

Shopify is designed for ecommerce websites

When you need a professional ecommerce website, you need it to look and function perfectly. You need a website platform that was built for sales.

Shopify was specifically made for ecommerce websites and is a fully hosted package. While you can get plugins for Shopify to enhance the user experience, you don’t need to install basic plugins to start selling online – it works right away.

WordPress, on the other hand, is a free, open-source platform. You need to buy a separate hosting account to run an ecommerce site on WordPress. You also need to hire a developer to set everything up for you.

Since WordPress was built as a blogging platform, you’ll need to install multiple plugins to make WordPress function as an ecommerce website. It’s not impossible, but it will take an enormous amount of time to set up.

Benefits of using Shopify over WordPress for ecommerce

Shopify vs. WordPress

Here’s why you’re better off using Shopify for ecommerce over WordPress:

  • Easier to use without technical knowledge. Shopify makes building an ecommerce website extremely easy. Once you log into your account, you can use the site builder to create your pages and fill out your content. When you want to customize your colors or text, you don’t need to know HTML or CSS. It’s really easy.

Unless you have a dedicated website developer, you’ll need some technical knowledge to create an online store using WordPress. Even after installing WordPress with a one-click installation option, there are numerous tasks to perform to make it work.

For example, you’ll need to add salt keys for security, adjust multiple settings you probably don’t understand (like permalinks), and build out your menu and widgets with an archaic drag-and-drop editor.

Some themes have built-in editors that make it easy to change colors and other elements, but some things must be changed within your CSS files. This presents another problem because if you’re not running a child theme, all of your CSS edits will disappear when you update your theme.

  • Better design flexibility. Shopify comes with a variety of built-in themes that you can select to use with your site. Once you sign up for your account, you can choose a theme immediately.

WordPress offers free themes, but they take time to install and configure. You’ll have to get through a lengthy technical setup before you can even think about installing a WordPress theme, free or paid.

  • Built-in sales features. With an ecommerce store, you shouldn’t have to install multiple plugins just to be able to sell products and services. With Shopify, all the sales features you need are built into the platform. You can still get add-ons to expand those features, but it’s not necessary to run your ecommerce store at a basic level.

With WordPress, you’ll have to select a third-party plugin to turn your site into an online store. There are several good free ecommerce plugins, like WooCommerce, but you’ll need to buy extensions and pay a yearly fee just to operate a basic online store.

  • Technical support. You can’t run an ecommerce store without technical support. If something goes wrong with your site, you need someone you can call immediately. Shopify provides that kind of support for their customers.

On the other hand, since WordPress is free, open-source software, you don’t get any support. If you get stuck, you can ask for help in a WordPress community online, but it’s not official support and there’s no guarantee anyone will even respond.

  • Fewer accounts. It’s nice to be able to manage everything related to your website in one place. With Shopify, everything is managed under your account, including your domain name, hosting, and website builder.

With WordPress, you’ll need three of four separate accounts to run your website – one for your domain name and one for your hosting account, you’ll need a merchant account or payment gateway, and then you’ll need another account to log into your WordPress site. Even if you combine your domain name and hosting account, that’s still too many accounts.

  • Shopify has a blog feature. If you’re worried about not having a blog with Shopify, don’t worry – there is a built-in option to add a blog to your Shopify website. It’s a basic blog with limited features, but it’s professional and serves its intended purpose.

Building an ecommerce site is a big undertaking, so it’s important to choose the right platform from the start. If you’ve been considering WordPress because it’s free, you now have a better understanding of what’s involved in the setup, and why thousands of business owners choose Shopify.

3 things to consider when choosing Shopify

Now that you know all the reasons to use Shopify, you may even be considering signing up for an account. Before you get started, there are several things to consider.

1. You’ll benefit from hiring a Shopify developer

Even though Shopify is extremely easy to set up and run, you’ll still benefit from hiring a developer. An experienced developer can set up your site in a fraction of the time it would take for you to figure everything out. A developer can also recommend themes, make customizations, and perform tedious tasks, like enter all of your products and variations.

Without a developer, you’ll have a small learning curve to get through and you might get frustrated in the process. Hiring a Shopify developer, like our team from Website.design, means getting your website built and published in a fraction of the time it would take to do it on your own.

2. There will be fees

You can expect to pay a monthly fee to keep your Shopify site running, along with a small transaction fee. However, these fees are unavoidable no matter how you build your site. If you built your site on your own, you’d have to sign up for your own payment accounts and you’d be paying the same fees (or more) directly to those companies.

Since Shopify is a fully hosted platform, you don’t need to sign up for a separate payment gateway account. However, you will need to pay fees to Shopify for every transaction in an amount between 0.5%-2% per transaction.

If this seems like a lot, consider that you’re actually saving money by going through Shopify because it means you don’t have to pay for your own payment gateway account directly.

3. Be careful when changing themes

When you change your Shopify theme, you’ll have to reformat some of your content. Not everything will be thrown off, but some of it will. To avoid this issue, be intentional about choosing your theme and try to pick one that will support your site in the long-term.

Is WordPress ever ideal for ecommerce?

While the WordPress platform itself isn’t inherently ideal for online stores, there are some circumstances where WordPress can be ideal for ecommerce. For instance, if you already have a WordPress website and you need to add online sales, it’s probably easier to install the WooCommerce plugin and use your existing site.

Another reason WordPress might be ideal for ecommerce is if you require an enormous amount of customization, including a custom theme and special features. While you can definitely customize the design and add features to Shopify, you don’t have as much freedom as you do with WordPress.

Shopify has plenty of account options

Shopify Account Plans

Shopify has five different account plans including three main options (Basic, Shopify, and Advanced). If none of the primary plans work for you, there are two other options: Shopify Lite and Shopify Plus.

Shopify Lite is significantly cheaper and allows you to set up your website using a Facebook store. Shopify Plus is an enterprise-level package that includes features custom tailored to meet your needs. No matter how little or how much volume you do, Shopify can handle it all.

Choose Shopify for ecommerce

To recap, Shopify is the ideal ecommerce platform because it’s easy to use, fast to set up, requires no coding to customize, and is ready out of the box.  You can even get a free 14-day trial to test it out if you want to see how it works.

Need an online store? We’ll build your ecommerce store with Shopify

If you’re ready to explore your options with Shopify, or you’d like to get started on building your site, we can help. At Website.design, our Shopify developers will build the ecommerce store you’ve always wanted and get you selling in no time. Contact us today and tell us about your project. We’d love to work with you!

Recap of Shopify vs. WordPress

Shopify vs. WordPress

The best CMS for businesses and entrepreneurs who rely on a blog or sales page format to make sales is WordPress.

The best CMS for businesses and entrepreneurs who rely on a storefront, product page format to make sales and has access to a developer is WordPress.

Shopify is the best CMS for businesses and entrepreneurs who rely on a product page format, but do not have access to a developer.

Good news – we can develop your Shopify or WordPress website

No matter which CMS you need, we can build your website. If you’re ready to get your business online and start generating sales, our team of professional developers can build you a custom website that truly represents your brand.

At Website.Design, our team of developers have extensive experience building Shopify and WordPress websites. If you’re not sure which CMS is right for you, we can help you figure that out, too.

Contact us today to get a free quote for your new business website.

Ryan Nead
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